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For Immediate Release
May 23, 2013

Important Steps Parents can take to Reduce their Child’s Risk of Abduction

MissingKids.ca Program Offers Prevention Resources on International Missing Children’s Day

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Recent media stories of both attempted and actual stranger abductions of children and youth have understandably caused anxiety amongst parents across the country. Though stranger abductions are statistically rare, they play at the very heart of our fears as parents, families and communities. This is why, on the eve of International Missing Children’s Day, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s MissingKids.ca program is providing parents, families and communities with important prevention resources. These resources provide important age-specific safety strategies to teach children and youth in order to reduce their likelihood of being victimized.

“As we take a moment to pause and reflect, on this International Missing Children’s Day, it is important that we come together as parents, as families, as communities to make sure that not one more child of ours goes missing,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “The protection of children and youth is all of our responsibility, and through our MissingKids.ca program, we want to provide families and communities with the most current prevention resources available at their fingertips.” The resource titled “Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Abduction” can be found on the MissingKids.ca website at http://missingkids.ca/pdfs/MK_ReduceRiskAbduction_en.pdf.

Preliminary research from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection has found that children and youth are at greater risk of abduction during the spring and summer months. The Canadian Centre encourages families to take the time to discuss with children, on a regular basis, safety strategies that will help reduce their risk of harm.

“We now know that the safety strategy, “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” is not only outdated but ineffective in reducing a child’s risk of abduction,” says Christy Dzikowicz, Director of MissingKids.ca. “The reality is that many child abductions are committed by people who are known to the child, or people who don’t fit the stereotype of a ‘stranger’ in both a child’s mind and even what we as adults might define as a ‘stranger’ — these individuals often present as ‘friendly’ and act ‘nicely’ towards the child in order to gain their acceptance and increase the likelihood that the child will go with them willingly. We’ve found that it is far more effective to teach children not to go ANYWHERE with ANYONE without first getting permission from their parents. This strategy reinforces to children that the duty of supervision lies with parents as opposed to leaving it up to children to assess the motives of individuals.”

The Canadian Centre’s MissingKids.ca program also provides resources should an attempted stranger abduction of a child or youth occur, including guides for families and community leaders on how to restore community connections and re-establish safety (http://missingkids.ca/app/en/post_abduction_guides).

MissingKids.ca also recognizes that if a child or youth does go missing, whether through a stranger abduction, parental abduction, runaway, getting lost, etc., a community can make all the difference in the world — both in helping to locate the child and in supporting the searching family. MissingKids.ca makes available a comprehensive Community Response Plan (www.responseplan.ca) to assist communities in effectively responding to a missing child event.

“While the Canadian Centre’s MissingKids.ca program continues to support families of missing children in locating their loved ones, we remain committed to providing educational prevention resources in order to ensure every child across this country is safe,” says McDonald.

For more information please contact:
Carolyn Shimmin-Bazak, Manager of Communications and Research, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Office: (204) 945-8074 Cell: (204) 801-6838
Email: carolyn@protectchildren.ca

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